Belgian brewing giant Anheuser-Busch InBev on Friday offered to sell SABMiller’s brands in Central and Eastern Europe to "proactively address" regulatory concerns over the $108 billion acquisition of its British rival. In the proposal submitted to the European Commission ahead of its May 24 verdict, AB InBev offered to sell SABMiller’s Hungarian, Polish, Czech, Slovakian and Romanian businesses.
“In line with AB InBev’s ambition to close the overall transaction during the second half of 2016, the company has made this additional commitment in Phase 1 of the European Commission enquiry. As previously stated, the proposed divestments are subject to review and approval by the European Commission and conditional on the successful closing of the recommended acquisition of SABMiller by AB InBev,” the company said in a statement.
In November, AB InBev announced it would acquire SABMiller for $108 billion, creating a brewing behemoth controlling approximately 30 percent of the world’s beer market. However, the deal has since raised eyebrows of antitrust regulators in the U.S. and Europe.
According to analysts cited by the Wall Street Journal, the sale of these assets — which include Polish beer brands Tyskie and Lech, Hungarian beer Dreher and Romanian beer brand Ursus — may fetch AB InBev up to $5 billion.
Last week, AB InBev announced it had agreed to sell the Peroni, Grolsch and Meantime beer brands, originally owned by SABMiller, to the Japanese brewer Asahi. Although the terms of the latest deal were not disclosed, Asahi had, in February, made a binding offer of 2.5 billion euros ($2.8 billion) for the three brands.
The Belgian brewer hopes that these divestments would mitigate the European Commission’s concerns regarding the purchase, thereby avoiding a phase two review, which may delay its acquisition of SABMiller.